Quick Word Customize Keyboard Trick

Do you find yourself using a menu item or toolbar button constantly in MS Word?

Does the item/button have a keyboard shortcut?


Do you wish it had one?

Yes? (I thought you might).

If you know how to set custom keyboard shortcuts, then you know about the Tools menu, Customize option and then the searching through the Commands tab looking for the right category and command just so you can get to the place where the key combination can be assigned.

These are certainly good skills. This process really lets you look through everything. I bet there are commands in the list you never even thought of.

But, it can also be a pain when you’re not sure where to find the command. Wouldn’t it be nice to assign the key combination right from the document window? Maybe even start the process at the button or menu command you use so frequently?

Sound good?

If you love to use keyboard shortcuts, then I’m sure it sounds wonderful, and I’m happy to report that it’s possible to start the process right from the document. (That’s right, no Tools menu, Customize, etc.)

So, now that you know it can be done, I’m sure you’re ready to see how, so let’s get right to it.

The first step is to decide what button or menu item you need to create a key combination for. (I’ve found that buttons and menu items that simply open another list of choices won’t work here. However, the individual choices may work. You’ve just got to try it to find out).

Now that you know what you want to have a key combination for, it’s time to begin the real work.

Press Alt + Ctrl + + (plus sign from the numeric keypad. You can’t use the Shift + = on the regular keyboard).

Your cursor should have changed into a square with circles on the four corners. (If you do this and change your mind, simply hit the Esc key to cancel the process).

Now, move your mouse over to the button or menu item.

If the cursor stays in its new shape, then you can proceed. If it returns to its normal arrow shape, then this isn’t something that will work here.

Once your cursor is in place, click the left mouse button.

The Customize Keyboard window should open with the correct command filled in.

The bottom section of the window is where you need to direct your attention. (The window will vary slightly from one version of Word to another, but it’s not so different that you can’t find what you’re looking for).

Look in the Current Keys field. If there is a key combination already listed, you could just note that and close the window. (Basically it was a quick lookup of the shortcut without scanning huge lists or becoming frustrated with the online help).

If the Current Keys field is empty, you’re ready to assign a shortcut.

Simply press a key combination that makes sense to you. The computer will enter the keys into the Press New Shortcut Key field for you.

Below the field, Word will display the key combination’s current assignment. If it says unassigned, then go ahead and click the “Assign” button.

If it lists something else, then click into the Press New Shortcut Key field, delete what’s there and try another combination. Basically, keep trying until you find something available, then click Assign.

When you’ve completed the assigning part, click Close.

The Customize Keyboard window will close and you’re back in your document.

No more button, no more menu. You’ve got the keyboard power!

~ April